GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (Canaries) — Sioux Falls Canaries fans had been waiting a while to see a Bird hit a grand slam. On Wednesday at AirHogs stadium, Andrew Ely ended that wait.
Ely, making his second start of the year after being hampered by oblique tightness, broke out in a big way for Sioux Falls, powering the Birds to a 10-4 win over Texas to clinch a series sweep.
Ely’s grand slam capped off a seven-run seventh inning for Sioux Falls, breaking open what was a tight contest up to that point.
Texas struck first in the bottom of the second, plating two runs on RBI singles from Jonathan Moroney and Luo Jinjun. It was the first time in five games the Birds had not scored a run in the first inning of a game.
The Birds would be back on top a few innings later. Brett Vertigan singled home Christian Hollie in the third inning to cut the lead in half.
In the fourth, back-to-back RBI singles from Jordan Ebert and Mike Hart put the Birds up 4-3.
Texas would continue to knock on the door. In the fourth, the AirHogs loaded the bases for Li Ning, who grounded out to end the inning.
Canaries starter Sam Bragg ran into trouble in the fifth. Moroney led off the inning with a double, moving to third on a groundout. Luo walked, making it first and third.
Luo then broke for third base, drawing a throw, and Moroney came in to score the tying run on a delayed steal of home. The throw home went to the backstop, allowing Luo to move to third. He’d later score the go-ahead run on a ground ball from Chen Junpeng.
Bragg would pitch 4.2 innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits. He walked two and struck out three.
The Birds broke things open in the seventh. They loaded the bases with one out, and a Clint Coulter fielder’s choice grounder allowed a run to score, tying the game at 4.
Alay Lago walked to load the bases for Kevin Taylor, who knocked a two-run single to give Sioux Falls a 6-4 lead.
Mike Hart came on to pinch hit for the Canaries, drawing a walk of his own and loading the bases a third time. That brought up Ely, who hit his first homer of the year just over the left-center field wall.
The Canaries have Thursday off, traveling to Gary to face the RailCats. The Birds will start Keaton Steele against his former team for Friday’s game. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.